Tubize (BE)


Project Scales L/S - Urban and architectural

Location Tubize, Clabecq, site of the Forges de Clabecq

Population 25,621 inhab.

Strategic site 23.4 ha – Project site 1.5 ha

Site proposed by City of Tubize, Duferco Wallonia

Actors involved City of Tubize, Duferco Wallonia

Owner of the site Duferco Wallonia

Post-competition phase Urban study with a potential implementation, or partial implementation of the project according to the adequacy of the proposals

Team representative architect, uban planner, lanscaper

More Information

How can the site contribute to the productive city?

The town of Tubize grew from textile and metalworking industries, the most important being the Forges de Clabecq. Following the gradual winding down of these activities, the former industrial sites have progressively been reconverted by combining habitat, shops and services. The reconversion of the 87 ha of the Forges site is a major factor in the economic development of Tubize. The Master Plan created in 2012 envisages habitat and associated functions as well as economic activity. As well as ground floor space for shops, bars/restaurants and liberal professions, the project allocates 8.6 ha for SMEs, another 7 for multi-modal activities and 3.3 for tertiary activities (shops, offices and services).

City strategy

After industrial activity ceased towards the end of the 20th century, Tubize underwent a mutation. As the western economic cluster of Walloon Brabant, its location 21 kilometres from Brussels has attracted real estate investors. The last decade has seen the population rise by more than 10%, and this trend is continuing with more than 1,000 homes under construction and several projects on the drawing board. More than 2,000 new housing units are planned for the Forges site, of which 200 are now being developed to the west of the site. Previously separated by the industrial installations, the town centre and the village of Clabecq will be linked by this new neighbourhood, which has recently been recognised as one of the 10 priority areas in Wallonia. The Europan site is destined to create the future image of Tubize.

Site definition 

Created in the 18th century, the Forges de Clabecq site is the oldest steelmaking centre in Wallonia. Bordered by the Charleroi-Brussels canal and crossed by a railway line, it marks the way into Tubize. Following the closure of the site in 2002, a partnership involving the Region, the Town and the company Duferco started work on a project to develop and strengthen the urban pole of Tubize. Most of the industrial buildings have been demolished, for example blast furnace no. 6. The decontamination of the 80 hectares of the Duferco site is currently under way, and the strategic site is now almost bare except for the old railway buildings and industrial sheds in the northern part (Sarci area). Bordered by the eastern entrance to the town centre, it is well connected to soft mobility routes.

How is Production Considered in the Urban Diversity Program?

The reconversion project for the Forges site combines habitat, shops, services, community amenities and economic activities. Il focuses on public spaces and soft mobility, and its implementation requires the construction of public mobility infrastructures. The present way into Tubize is obstructed by a crossing over the railway line, which would be moved southwards to allow for a better crossing of the line. A northern bypass would reduce the amount of traffic through the town centre (this project has just received initial funding). New roadways between the canal and railway line will facilitate access to the loading area on the canal.
Located between the present and future ways into the town, the project site is the link between the town centre and the village de Clabecq, between the canal and the railway lines. A symbol of the renewal of Tubize, it will clearly mark out the entrance into the town. With railway lines to the west, it stands along company premises on the canal. As for the southern part of the new urban boulevard leading into the town, reflections are focused on the development of a real estate complex of shops and accommodation. The project site should perform the transition between these different activities and be home to compatible functions, e.g. manufacturing activities within modular surfaces (artisans’ village, business centre, linking hall…).

South view of the site being remediated
Railway crossing to enter Tubize with the old Clabecq station


The Charleroi-Brussels canal running east of the study site
Northeast view of the project site from the location
of the future railway crossing


Questions on the site

The masterplan for the implementation of the former foundries seems to indicate the massing for all the sectors, including the Europan site. Is it allowed to reconfigure it or the building has to trace the given shapes? What are the massing constraints?

The Master plan outlines guidelines for reflection and uses proposals. It is therefore not fixed. It is open to modifications or adaptations.

Could we download the master plan in dwg? Could we have more information about the program of project site (uses, maximum heights, areas, maximum sqm per uses, number of floors...)?

The master plan is a plan designed in 2 dimensions.
The site folder gives some indications of program (Site brief §2.3), but it remains fairly open on proposals of uses, areas and heights of buildings. 
These elements are left to the discretion of the candidates who thus have a comfortable opportunity to let express all their creativity!  The jury will judge the coherence of the proposal as a whole.

Why the project site doesn't have the same exactly size of the masterplan's plot?

The Master Plan is a document that attempts to provide indications of uses and land division. It is not intended to precisely reproduce the dimensions of each parcel.
We remind that Europan is a competition of ideas above all, and that even if we provide a DWG file, we doubt the importance of using it slavishly. 

What is the rectangular basin on the project site – what was it used for?

The basin should not be conserved and there are no particular constraints. On the other hand, there is an underground drainage system that ends up in this basin and has to be retained. We will put it on the plan that will be available in the file of site from May 20th

We need more information about heights in the masterplan. Could you provide a map with heights indication (in reference to the water) of the existing bridge, of the new bridge on top of the rails, of the hypothetical ground floor of the buildings at the south of the boulevard. Or are these heights also a question of the Europan competition?

The master plan is a plan only designed in 2 dimensions. The Master Plan is a document that attempts to provide indications of uses and land division. For the heights of the grounds and the existing infrastructures, we have downloaded a plan of surveyor with the requested information in the site file. As regards the building heights, the heights of the buildings south of Boulevard Urbain are not yet defined; and the heights of the buildings to be built on the Europan site are left to your appreciation, in harmony with your project.

The study area, red contour, and the project area, yellow contour). What’s the value of these lines? Assuming Europan as an idea competition, are we forced to respect these borders or are they purely indicative?

Europan has defined two areas:

- A project area (yellow box), on which candidates are asked to propose a urbanistic and architectural project based on the provided informations;
- A study area (red zone), which places the project area in the wider environment. On one hand, this gives a better understanding of the area in the spirit of global thinking. On the other, it allows the candidates to could possibly propose changes on a larger scale.

Towards which solution are evolving the studies for the contournements of Tubize?

One of the important "nodes" of the mobility project will be the urban boulevard south of the Europan project, in particular to clear the entrance to the city. A project for a bypass around the town to the north is currently being studied.

Is the boulevard and its position part of the competition or should it be considered as a given?

The layout of the urban boulevard is an unavoidable fact that is part of the future mobility project of Tubize. It must be integrated into the Europan project.

Could you give us an approximate height of the bridge over the canal compared with the height of the project site area?

This information is on the surveyor's map provided in the site file.

Regarding the rails overcome along the boulvevard that leads towards Tubize, could you confirm that the clear height that has to be ensure for the train to pass is 7 m?

Yes, the height available for the passage of trains under the boulevard must be 7 meters (constraint imposed by the railway operator).

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